How to Prepare a Study Guide

The purpose of a study guide is to provide teachers with the tools to prepare their students for the performance or workshop that they will experience and provide a direct connection to curriculum through activities that address the Florida Standards. The following identifies elements that must be included in all study guides and helpful information for creating these elements.

Title and description of program

The description should include what teachers can expect to see and what will happen – the content of the program. This can include things like, a story synopsis, list of musical selections to be played, list/describe characters or artists in the performance, etc.

Think about what the students will know and be able to do after they have experienced the performance or workshop. Identify which standards are connected to the performance/workshop experience.

Information relating to performance/workshop genre and content

This would include historical/cultural background needed to understand the performance or workshop content.  Include information about the author, composer, artists, etc.

Theatre Etiquette

This would be an explanation of appropriate behavior during the performance or workshop. Identify the Theatre standards pertaining to etiquette.

Pre & Post activities teachers can do in the classroom with their students

Activities should provide for reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Pre activities should prepare students for what they will experience. Think about what they need to know to understand the performance or workshop. What events, sounds, etc. should the audience look for in the performance? What contributes to the creation of your artwork?

Post activities should expand and reinforce the performance or workshop experience. What was the turning point in the action? What instruments were used? What contributed to the creation of the artwork?

Activities should allow the students to experience the art form. For example – act out a scene, practice movement and use of time, space, energy, rhythm, make “found” instruments, paint a vase in the “Red Figure” style. Supplies or materials used in pre & post activities should be things that teachers are likely to have in the classroom.

Standards and benchmarks addressed by these activities

Standards and benchmarks outline what students should know and be able to do after completing activities and experiencing your performance or workshop.  You are the expert regarding your performance or workshop and are the most qualified to identify what knowledge/skills will be gained. Teachers must align all student experiences with the curriculum so this is a critical piece of any study guide.

Specific standards must be identified for each activity as opposed to a “laundry list” of overall standards that apply. When identifying standards, start with your primary art form – Dance, Theatre, Music, Visual Art. You do not need to include every possible standard – one standard per applicable grade level is fine. Then identify non-arts connections. This should be natural connections and not forced. For example, Language Arts standards naturally connect to theatre performance, storytelling, opera, etc.



When writing a bibliography, remember that the purpose is to communicate to the reader, in a standardized manner, the sources that you have used in sufficient detail to be identified.

  • Include a comprehensive list of musical selections if applicable.
  • Include a glossary of terms or vocabulary list.
  • Include a list of additional resources.

Additional information relating directly to your program

For example pictures, lyrics of songs performed, important stories, historical or geographical information, costuming information, from page to stage, information on dancer’s shoe, etc.

Bio for artist(s) or company

Write a brief biography to introduce yourself, fellow artists or company. Highlight achievements, list credentials and any notable projects with which you are involved. Bios should be short and concise, listing only relevant information. Avoid listing personal statistics, such as family and hobbies.

Required credit line:

“This program is presented as part of the Artists-in-the-Schools Program, which is funded and jointly sponsored by the Hillsborough County Public Schools and the Arts Council of Hillsborough County.”

 Helpful Tips

  • Activities for younger children should be shorter, more focused and should definitely include DOING, rather than listening.
  • Make the materials as simple and straightforward as possible. Design them for teachers with no background in the arts and not a lot of time to devote to this undertaking.
  • Make the materials attractive and visually interesting, with a good deal of white space, especially material to be placed directly in the students’ hands.
  • Make certain you’ve secured the necessary copyright clearances and permissions.
  • Double check grammar and mechanics. Your study guide is to be used by teachers and they will notice errors!

 Additional Training Materials

How to Prepare a Study Guide Powerpoint How to Prepare a Study Guide PDF Elements of a Study Guide
Study Guide Template Sample Study Guide Theatre Etiquette Sample